Minties are a classic Australian lolly. Having been invented in 1922, they have a long and definite standing here, and I'm sure every Aussie born here has at least one Mintie memory. The firm, squarish white chew was a regular accompniment to many road trips and plane flights - they are great for keeping young mouths distracted, stomachs settled and ears popped, and leaving a clean fresh taste in your mouth. They're also something I've never seen be released in a different flavour or version before. This could be history in the making! (Edit: kind reader Nick has let me know that Minties were released in a Spearmint variation in the early 1990s, so I guess that these aren't so historical after all!)
The Smooth Mints bag contains two flavours, cream choc-mint and velvety vanilla-mint. I admit when I first picked up the bag without really looking, I assumed the flavours wouldn't have mint (yeah, I need to learn to read!) so I was quite curious when I read the back of the pack. Choc-mint I can understand, but vanilla mint? That's not something I've tried before so I'm curious to see how it works.
Minties of course aren't Minties without the fabulous 'It's moments like these you need Minties' catchphrase and cartoon on the wrapper. According to the Wikipedia page, the cartoons were introduced in 1927, and there have been many artists over the years. The sketch depicts mishaps or accidents when Minties would have been acceptable. That doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me; I just enjoy the cartoon for its amusement factor. But better than the sketch is the Mintie tear race, a game best played on long roadtrips. The goal is to tear the Mintie wrapper into the longest continuous strip without breaking it, as fast as you can.
The wrappers are both labelled with the flavour as well and subtly colour-coded, but the brown of the choc-mint flavour is easily visible through the wax paper wrapper. Each piece is individually wrapped, and about 2.5cm long by 1cm high, and 1.5cm wide. They are imperfect, and often have small air bubbles or spiky ends from where they came out of the machine.
Choc-mint is a weird pinky-brown colour (a lot lighter than the picture), and smells faintly of mint. There's little chocolate scent there. In true Mintie style, the chew is hard and hurts my teeth until it softens after some dedicated chewing for a few moments. It has a mild mint flavour, much like an original Mintie, but there's very little in the way of chocolate flavouring. It sits in the back, easily overwhelmed by the mint, and contributes nothing but a vague not-mint flavour. I bet that if I tried it blindfolded I wouldn't be able to pick between it and the original Mintie.
Vanilla-mint is a slightly off-white colour, with a weird milky scent. It's not quite vanilla, and not quite mint. The taste is exactly what it says on the wrapper - mint with a mild vanilla aftertaste. The vanilla does a good job of tapering off the mint so it's not as intense, and gives it a bit of warmth as well. They're different enough to original Minties to be interesting, but close enough to still make the connection. A whole bag of these would do well at my desk.
Allen's Minties Smooth Mints Choc Vanilla loses points for the failure that is choc-mint, but gains some for the vanilla-mint pieces. Can I just have a bag of the vanilla ones, please?
Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars.
Allen's Minties Smooth Mints Choc Vanilla are a glucose product. They are made in New Zealand, and made on equipment that processes products containing egg. A serving size is 20g (approximately three pieces).